Employees improved their financial wellness in the third quarter, a much-needed climb back from a weakened condition in the first quarter, according to new research released Wednesday.
Financial Finesse, a provider of workplace financial wellness programs, identified several major trends.
For one, employees shifted their focus to short-term money management issues after several quarters of long-term focus. The report said budgeting and debt management questions had made up more than 30% of all questions received by the company’s team of certified financial planners.
This was up from about 22% last quarter, and approached levels not seen since Q3 of 2010.
As a result, the report noted improvements in all areas of money management and financial planning, in particular managing debt, living within their means and setting up an emergency cash reserve.
It said employees still had a long way to go, but their active focus on improving their finances was a good sign, as was their quick recovery from the backslide they suffered in Q1.
In addition, investing emerged as a key employee priority in Q3, based on data collected from the firm’s financial wellness assessment tool. The report attributed this to recent market improvements.
As well, it said, employees realized they may have to invest more aggressively in order to reach retirement goals, largely to compensate for not being able to save more until they build a stronger financial foundation.
Financial Finesse founder and CEO Liz Davidson (left) said in a statement that the positive shift of focus onto money management issues had come at the expense of retirement planning, which saw a drop in questions to below 30% of all questions asked for the first time in more than a year.